Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Oliver Button Is a Sissy by Tomie dePaola
In honor of Tomie dePaola, who left us last week, I wanted to do one of his possible classics. We had already done Strega Nona on the show, but one other book might qualify for “classic” status. Trouble was, my library is closed and I couldn’t get a physical copy of this book. Happily, Overdrive offered this ebook for borrowing. The title totally threw Kate off, and I couched it by saying that it is considered one of the original GLBTQIA+ books created for kids in America. It is by NO means as brave as Heather Has Two Mommies, but it has its place in the culture.
If you’re interested in the GLBTQ chapter I refer to in this podcast, it’s in the book Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature.
If you know this show then you know that Kate finds clowns in every book she reads (or at least it feels that way). This is the clown Kate said has “has killer eyes”.
And here’s a second clown poster. Please hold your terror in check.
A little confusing why Oliver’s dad seems to have an arm garter on. Almost stranger if that’s the design of the shirt.
I kind of love that Kate thought the short bully in this book was the same little bully from A Christmas Story. She even did some comparison shots.
We don’t mention this fact on the show, but I also find it odd that the graffiti on the wall has a period at the end. They’re cruel but by gum they pay attention to punctuation!
You can always tell when an illustrator bases a character on a real person. This teacher? Tomie knew this guy. Dunno who he is, but he clearly did. 50 points to anyone who can identify him.
Kate was just so darned proud that she could identify the song Lulu Baines was singing as, “By the Light of the Silvery Moon.”
I’m a little unnerved by this picture. This is my mom back in the day. She OWNED that outfit.
We are trying to figure out how long this graffiti was up. If we’re working through the timeline of the book, then at the VERY least this was up all weekend. What kind of school lets this kind of thing just sit there? If we panned over to the right would we just see a load of other graffiti they weren’t bothering to cover up? I know 1979 was a grimy time, but this strains the tensile strength of our incredulity. Love that whoever wrote it still loves punctuation, though.
And once again, ladies and gentlemen, The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington D.C. performing this book themselves!
My Grown-Up Thing I Liked this week was this cool feature that Google has through your iPhone where you Google an animal, scroll down, and it will give you the option to put that animal virtually in your home. Here are my children with an octopus, as one example:
Filed under: Fuse 8 n' Kate
About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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